Legislative Consent Motions of the devolved legislatures

27.6The United Kingdom Parliament does not normally legislate with regard to matters within the competence of the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales or the Northern Ireland Assembly without the consent of the relevant body. This constitutional understanding, sometimes referred to as the Sewel Convention, is now given statutory expression in relation to Scotland and Wales.1 Consent is expressed by means of a Legislative Consent Motion which in the Scottish Parliament (for example) usually takes the following form:

‘That the Parliament agrees that the relevant provisions of the ….. Bill, introduced into the House of Commons [or the House of Lords] on [a certain date], relating to [a specified matter], so far as these matters fall within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament, should be considered by the UK Parliament.’

Where any of the devolved assemblies has passed such a motion, that is indicated in the list of bills in progress in House of Lords Business (see para 7.16 ), and in the House of Commons by a rubric to the item in the Order of Business or Future Business (see para 7.3 ). The text of the motions is also made available on the bill webpages and a rubric to that effect appears in the House of Commons Order Paper. Since October 2014, in any case where the Government had indicated that legislative consent would be sought in respect of provisions of a bill and that consent has been refused, reference has been provided to the decision of the relevant legislature not to grant consent.2


  1. 1. Scotland Act 1998, s 28(8), inserted by Scotland Act 2016, s 2; Government of Wales Act 2006, s 107(6), inserted by Wales Act 2017, s 2. See also para 11.11.
  2. 2. See, for example, House of Commons Order Paper, 27 April 2016 (Trade Union Bill: Consideration of Lords Amendments); ibid, 3 May 2016 (Housing and Planning Bill: Consideration of Lords Amendments). A refusal of consent is also noted in the Bills in Progress section of the House of Lords Business Paper: see, for example, 13 April 2016, Bills in Progress in respect of Housing and Planning Bill.